tv Meet the Press NBC November 7, 2010 8:00am-9:00am PST
to make sure that you get all you can out of the new law. find out what the new health law can do for you and your family at the california endowment's website: calendow.org get educated, get engaged, get enrolled. this sunday, the republican wave and the new balance of power in washington. >> the american have spoken. i think it's pretty clear that the obama/pelosi agenda south carolina rejected by the american people. >> on jobs, taxes, spending, health care and the debt, what's next? and can the gop stand united with the tea party's growing influence? my exclusive guest this morning, washington's leader of the tea party, republican senator from south carolina, jim demint. then, he was a hot commodity among republican candidates on
the campaign trail and is being called the darling of the gop. i'll go one on one with new jersey's outspoken governor, chris christie. finally, our political roundtable weighs in on the road ahead for president obama after what he calls a shellacking on election day. >> sometimes we lose track of, you know, the ways that we connected with folks that got us here in the first place. >> with us, the president's former communications adviser, anita dunn. counselor to president bush, karin hughes, and republican strategist and adviser for governor candidate of california, meg whitman, mike governor candidate of california, meg whitman, mike murphy. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
good morning. the president is on day two of his ten-day trip through asia. the big question now, how will the republicans use the new power they have? joining me from his home state of south carolina this morning, the washington leader of the tea party, republican senator jim demint. welcome to "meet the press," senator. >> thank you, david. i can't claim to be the leader of the tea party, but i'm sure glad they raised the interest level of the american voter this year. it made a real difference in the election. >> let me ask you that, plain and simple. is the tea party now running the republican party? >> hardly. i'm hoping the republican party will embrace a lot of the ideas of the tea party, but it's a mistake to think that the tea party is one big organization. it's made up of thousands of leaders all over the country of citizens who are just tired of out-of-control spending. they want to take back the power from the washington politicians. and i think they made a huge
difference in the election. they're just a part of this awakening of the american people, the citizen activism, this realigning politics in america today. >> what about the election results on tuesday? in your judgment, was that step one of making president obama a one-term president? >> i don't know that that's the issue. i think people are rejecting, in large numbers, this rampage of government spending and takeover that the president has been leading. but also, even before obama was president, pelosi and reid have been in charge of the congress now for four years. they've had plenty of time to show what they're going to do. pelosi said there would not be any more deficit spending. we've had $5 trillion in spending since then. it is a rejection of reid and pelosi but i don't know that it's about obama being a one-term president. we have got to look at the
federal government. >> i want to ask you about specific issue areas of the agenda. before i do that, you were active in supporting tea party candidates around the country. you had some big winners around the country that you campaigned for, some of them. you also had notable losses, particularly in the senate. i want to single one out. you were behind christine o'donnell, who lost, of course, in delaware. here was the front page of the wilmington news journal, "no taste for tea." there's been backlash for your support of her. party purists like palin and senator demint had foolishly pushed nominees too conservative to win in politically competitive states. if you think what happened in delaware was a win, we don't have a snowball's chance to win
the white house. if you think delaware with his a wake-up call for republicans, we have a shot of doing well for a long time. do you think the tea party cost the republican party control of the senate? >> that is a very silly thing to say, david. the tea party is responsible for just about every republican elected around the country. this time last year, people will think about it, we were concerned about holding our own. any thoughts that republicans would fall below 38 in the senate. so, i supported all the republican candidates, including christine o'donnell. unfortunately, she was so maligned, she never had a chance. >> you're not really saying it was just lack of republicans at work that tainted her candidacy, are you? this is a woman that said on a national ad that she was not a witch. >> well, i think we did see in the wake of her primary win a number of republicans suggest she was not a viable candidate.
that did make it difficult for her to start on the right foot. all over the country, we saw candidates like pat toomey in pennsylvania, marco rubio, rand paul. we saw candidates supported by a tea party in a new active wave of citizens change the face of the senate. this is what republicans have needed for a long time. a new, young republicans, cuban-american senator, african-american congressmen. this is a huge change for the republican party. i think it will be very positive for our country. >> so, let me go down the list of important issues that i know you care about. let's try to do this a little more quickly than we might normally get answers from you. on health care, how do you go about dismantling it? >> well, first of all, we have to stop the funding of obama care and over the next two years show the american people what the real options are to improve the system we have now. i don't think americans want to throw out our current system. they want to improve it.
and there are a lot of ways we can make insurance more available, more affordable, available to those with pre-existing conditions and we need to let the american people know that there are ways to do this without moving to the government-control system. the first step is obviously to defund it. and i think we can do that with republicans controlling the house. >> do you think repeal is realistic? >> yes, i do. i think the next republican running for president needs to run on complete repeal of obama care, because we really can't tweak it, david. it's built on a platform of government control. and that doesn't really work in america. we need a patient/physician system based more on competition and free markets. we really can't do that under this system that's so heavily prescribed in obama care. >> you're talking about the president in 2012, running for president. you don't really think you can overcome a presidential veto of repealing health care in the senate, do you? >> not before 2012. but we can certainly defund it. most aspects of this new obama care are not implemented for two
more years. so, it's very realistic to think we can slow the implementation of it or delay it and then replace it in 2012 with a real plan to improve health care in america. >> let me move to a few others. the cultural litmus test for republicans, i'm told, earmark issue, pork spending. you want them donna way with. but mitch mcconnell, the leader of republicans in the senate was asked about it the other day. this is what he said. >> i think all of you know, you can eliminate every congressional earmark and you would save no money. it's really an argument about discretion. >> doesn't sound like he's with you all the way. is this a showdown coming from republicans? >> it may be. i think the message is clear from the american people. and i know there's some senior members in congress who think it's their job to take home bacon. but the real reason for the dysfunction of congress right now, as you have over 500
congressmen and senators who think they're there to bring home the bacon, it's kind of to heck with america, just give me the money. we can't do that anymore. parochial politics needs to be out. >> what about senator mcconnell? he suggests it's more an issue of discretion. are you prepared to go toe-to-toe with him? is this going to be a big showdown with your republican leadership? >> i don't think so. mitch mcconnell has voted twice for an earmark ban that i've o proposed in the senate. just about every republican who is running for the senate this time ran on a no earmark pledge. and we've had a vote where over half of our conference has voted for the ban before. i'm hopeful i will have leadership support. we have a number of co-sponsors, leading the effort for this earmark ban. we know john boehner is committed to it in the house. we're not going to have earmarks. it's really silly for some senior republicans in the senate to try to block it. >> let me ask you about another
hot button issue. that is the debt ceiling. come spring, congress will have to vote to raise the debt ceiling because our debt is increasing and reaching the limit that congress has already set, $14.3 trillion limit that congress set in february. will you vote fo increase the debt ceiling? >> no, i won't. not unless this debt ceiling is combined with some path to balancing our budget, returning to 2008 spending levels, repealing obama care. we have got to demonstrate that we have the resolve to cut spending. we've already spent the money. raising the debt ceiling is like paying off your credit card bill. we cannot allow that to go through the congress without showing the american people that we are going to balance the budget. worry not going to continue to raise the debt in america. >> let me ask you specifically about that. where do you think the american people have to be prepared for sacrifice? which part of the budget, know
ing that there's only 15% that's nondiscretionary or that's real -- nondefense discretionary part of the budget. what are you going to target for cuts? >> well, i don't think the american people are going to have to sacrifice as much as the government bureaucrats, who get paid about twice what the american worker does. first of all, we just need to return to pre-obama levels of spending in 2008. we need to cut ooh earmarks so people quit focusing on taking home the bacon, defund obama care and then we need to look at the entitlement programs, such as the way paul ryan has done until the house with his road maps to america's future to fix our tax code, fix social security and medicare and cut the cost over time. we've got the plans, david, to do this. we need to talk about them and help the american people see where we're going. we can cut spending. >> let me be very, very, very specific. going back to 2008 spending level also not get anywhere close to balancing the budget.
everything has to be on the table, cuts in defense, cuts in medicare, cuts in social security. is that right? >> well, no, we're not talking about cuts in social security. if we can just cut the administrative waste we can cut hundreds of billions of dollars a year at the federal level. before we start cutting -- we need to keep our promises to seniors, david. cutting benefits to seniors is not on the table. >> but where do you make the cuts? if you're protecting everything from the most potent political groups like seniors who go out and vote, where are you really going to balance the budget? >> well, look at paul ryan's road map to the future. we see a clear path to moving back to a balanced budget over time. the plans are on the table. we don't have to cut benefits for seniors. we don't need to cut medicare, like the democrats did in this big obama care bill. we can restore sanity in washington without cutting any benefits to seniors or set vans. >> let me ask you a final
question about 2012. who has the inside track for president? do you think tea party forces, yourself, sarah palin, have an inside track moving forward? >> i think the voters have the inside track here. citizen activism is going to change politics. i think sarah palin did an incredible amount of good to raise the interest level of what's going on in politics. she did a lot for the republican party. michelle bachman, others. we've got a great list of folks, including the next person on your show, chris christie, who has demonstrated a lot of courage. probably more than anything else right now, david, we need politicians with the courage to make very difficult decisions, to fight special interest groups. that's what i want to see from the next republican nominee. >> senator demint, thank you very much for joining us this morning. >> thank you, david. we now turn to the aforementioned republican, who has emerged as a leader of his
party, new jersey governor chris christie. welcome to the program. >> thank you, david. >> thank you for being here. >> glad to be here. >> something is very curious. we know some of the feelings about democrats, president obama's policies. look at this from the exit polls in terms of the opinion of political parties. republicans didn't fare too well either. 52% unfavorable rating. what does that say about the republican party today? >> what i've been saying all over the country. it's put up or shut up time for our party. we lost our way the last decade, david. we did. and the people expect us to do better. and if the republican party wants to come back, they have to do what they said they were going to do. if they don't, we'll be sent to the wilderness for a long time and we're going to deserve it. >> what does that mean? what do they have to put up? >> say what they want, and we're doing it in new jersey, smaller government, less regulation, lower taxes. that's what the public is saying they want. if you look at what we're doing in new jersey, david, we're delivering on that. we're not fibsed yet but we're on the track of being fixed,
closing the budget deficit, cutting the corporate business tax. we're doing things to try to create an environment. >> you heard senator demint. a lot of republicans talking about cutting the deficit. cutting the budget. but they're not specific. he wasn't specific. he talks about paul ryan, who has some ideas about medicare and changing the way that's structured, making some cuts. paul ryan in the house, from wisconsin, doesn't have support among establishment republicans. there are 15 republicans set up behind him in terms of making these cuts. are republicans making good when senator demint and others aren't concerned about the cut they're making to move the budget? >> let me tell you where the leadership is coming from. 11 republican governors and andrew cuomo in new york who said we can't raise taxes and have to cut spending in everything. in new jersey what we did, we cut spending in every department. a 9% cut in real spending, not projected spending.
real spending year over year. find another state that did that and we'll go and talk about it. we made real hard decisions. i cut some programs we would have liked to have kept but we're broke. we don't have the money anymore. i hope these governors, republicans and democrats, will show washington is you can do this and you have to do it. >> i asked senator demint about sacrifice. he said we don't want to break our promise to our seniors. in your state, what are you telling people they have to sacrifice? what do republicans around the country have to tell americans they have to sacrifice if they want to bring the size of government under control? >> there has to be shared sacrifice among everyone. we cut every department of state department. we cut funding k through 12 education. we have proposed real pension and benefit reforms, increasing the retirement age, things that are really going to bring the pension problem back under control. we cut all this spending in the state, in every state department, david. every state department from
environmental protection, military veterans' affairs all the way through had to sustain a cut. those are the types of things you have to do that show people you really mean sacrifice. everybody had to come to the table and everybody had to contribute. >> with national influence now, you've met with national republicans and talked about issues. does everything have to be on the table? >> i told them they better come up with a plan that's credible, like we did in new jersey. the public is going to be able to smell real quickly if you're not credible. if we are not credible, then we are really going to be in trouble as a party. the numbers you've shown indicate that. >> what about the tea party? the tea party's influence on the republican party? net positive, net negative? what do you say? >> net positive. listen, the core that drives the tea party are those four principles, less spending, less government, lower regulation, lower taxes. when republicans are at their best, those are our core principles. so, i think that at bottom is the positive influence. listen, you're going to have variances around the country.
i endorsed mike cassel in the primary. >> in delaware? >> yes. i felt he was the best person. >> do you agree with lindsey graham from south carolina or jim demint from south carolina that delaware is a wake-up call for republicans? >> i think delaware was a missed opportunity to have a good united states senator in mike cassel. that's why i endorsed him in the primary. >> let me talk about tacks and spending. i want to talk about this arc tunnel, rail tunnel that would have connected in new york and new jersey. to boil all this down, the federal government offered you a deal. you were worried about cost, costover runs. they said we'll take care of that. new jersey will not be responsible. critics of you -- >> let me stop you right there. >> yeah. >> no chance. that never happened. the federal government said $3 billion is what they're going to give us. i had to sign a contract saying every nickel over $3 billion was the responsibility of the federal government. all the federal government offered me in the interim two-week period from when i first canceled the tunnel was the ability to get federal loans that we would have to pay back.
>> they weren't going to ship this to private companies to take care of? >> no or if we wanted a private/public partnership, increased fees on all the train tickets for all the commuters across new jersey, including ones that weren't using the tunnel to repay it. no matter what, this was going to fall on the state of new jersey and it was a blank check. no one could tell me how much it was going to cost. we put $5.7 billion up from the state of new jersey and we were talking about billions of dollars in loans now. we could not sustain that. we're broke. >> is this a matter of ideology for you or simply a pragmatic issue that you don't have the money? by that, i mean, should the federal government be involved in big infrastructure projects like this? >> sure, they should. if this is a project of such national importance, put more money on the table for it. they didn't. in florida, where they're building high-speed rail, florida is being asked to give a 20% match to 80% from federal. in this project, new jersey was
picking up 70% of the cost, feds 30% and nothing from the state or city of new york. this is about fairness and about what we could afford. i'm not going to sign blank checks on the taxpayers of the state of new jersey for a project that, as laudible as it might be in some respects, we simply can't afford now. we talked during the campaign about tough choices. this is an example. >> tax cuts, millionaire's tax in new jersey. >> not anymore, we don't. >> not anymore? because you vetoed it? >> yes. >> high taxes across the board. how do you deal with that as a republican governor of new jersey? >> first you say no more. and the democrats sent me an extension of the millionaire's tax that would have not only hit individuals but small businesses in new jersey and i vetoed it. i'm not going to increase taxes on the state of the tax foundation that is the highest tax burden state in america. our unemployment is higher than any state in the region. last eight years under corzine, we raised taxes 115 times, put a
wet blanket on the economy of new jersey. that's why our people are still out of work disproportionately. new york is a point lower, pennsylvania is more than a point lower. we did this to ourselves with all these increased taxes. >> what about the bush tax cuts and extending those? you said it should happen at all levels for a couple of years but only a couple of years because there is a day of reckoning here. can you have tax cuts when you also want to balance the budget or do you have to consider tax increase at the federal level at some point? >> i've been watching you for weeks talk about extending the bush tax cuts. this is about maintaining the current tax structure in a time when we have a weak economy. i favor extending these for another two years. extending the current tax system and not having a tax increase. >> it may drive you crazy and other republicans feel the same way. i've talked to republicans. i've talked to economists like alan greenspan who says there is no free lunch here. you can't have tax cuts at this
level and not be paid for. and other republicans say they should be paid for. you do agree they should be paid for? >> i'm walking the walk in new jersey, david. >> okay. >> i said we're vetoing the millionaire's tax. >> you can have existing did shall. >> it still has to be offset. listen, i'm not disagreeing with you, david. i'm disagreeing with you characterizing what's happening here as tax cuts. this is maintaining the current tax policy in a weak economy. and what you're advocating through your question is tax increase zpls that's not fair. i'm not advocating. i'm questioning whether or not they have to be paid for. >> well, when you call them tax cuts, what i'm saying is i take the position as the opposite of that. the opposite of that is it is a tax increase. >> they are set to expire. >> in a weakened economy. you should keep the current tax structure in place. >> they're set to expire so if you re -- >> a continuation. >> a continuation. but then there's the offset issue. >> then we agree. >> the issue of where there's
room for negotiation, is there room for negotiation in your mind? should the president make a deal here on these things? for a certain period of time, does everybody in a couple of years have to come to this and say maybe we have to think about tax increases? >> the first thing the president has to focus on is building private sector jobs in this country. i don't think by increasing taxes that's the way that we're going to get it done in the short term. so, sure, there's areas for compromise. i'm sure there are, between republican leaders in the congress and the president. the president has to lead on this. i think the message is really clear. i got the message from the election. it's about putting people back to work. you will not put people back to work in private sector jobs by increasing the cost in the private sector. >> couple of more areas. you have become a youtube star, as you well know, because you've had interactions with voters, including when you were campaigning for meg whitman out in california. let me show that moment. >> you want to yell, yell at me. but don't give her a hard time. we're here. we're here talking about the future of the state of
california and the future of our country. and, you know what? and you know what? let me tell you this. you know what? it's people who raise their voices and yell and scream like you that are dividing this country. we're here to bring this country together, not to divide it. >> so, what's the balance? the balance for you being a straight talker, taking on the corrosive conversations we have of politics and then your image of being governor wrecking ball, how do you straddle that line? >> i am who i am. i don't straddle the line. what people in new jersey appreciate about me is that i don't send smoke signals. they know who i am. they know how i feel about issues. sometimes they agree with me. sometimes they don't. i think that clip indicates when i have something on my mind i'm going to say it. i'm going to say it directly. i think that we have too little of that in politics, david. when i sit around and watch the way some people in political life talk, it fogs me over. i think it fogs people in america over, too. they want to hear somebody say if you feel a certain way, say
it. and live with the consequences. i'm willing to let the chips fall where they may on that issue. >> whether you're going to say all this stuff at a national level is the question. you ruled out running for president in 2012 but you're also acting like a guy who is increasing your national influence. campaigning for national republicans. why do all that, especially in tight races, if you're not looking down the line at running? >> because i care about my country and because i felt that those people were the absolute best candidates to help make our country a better place. that's why i campaigned for them. i have no other agenda. to the extent that new jersey, over the last year, can serve as an example to people that say, listen, you can cut spending. you can ballet budget without tax increases. you can make hard choices. not only survive politically, but thrive politically. then i want to try to set that example for folks so that these other new governors coming in, members of congress, that they will act boldly and be strong. >> you're not running in 2012? >> absolutely. >> you wouldn't be on the ticket
at all as vp? >> can you see me as somebody as a vice president, after that question about governor wrecking ball? i would feel bad for that poor man or woman. >> what about down the line beyond 2012? what criteria would you make in deciding about running for president? >> first i have to decide if i run for re-election in 2013. that would depend on how good of a job i do and if the people of the state of new jersey want me back. my mother always taught me first thing is first. do your job that the people of new jersey gave you. i love being governor. i'll be governor until 2013 and then we'll see what the people think of the job i did. >> the door isn't open until after 2012? >> i'm going to need a job. i have four kids between 7 and 17. i'm working the rest of my life anyway. it's going to be doing something, david. maybe it will be that. who knows. >> governor christie, thank you
very much. >> thank you, david. a shellacking on election day and a look down the road. president's former communication adviser, anita dunn. former counselor to president bush, karin hughes, mark morial and republican strategist mike murphy only here on "meet the press." - i volunteered. - i was drafted. - i enlisted. - i was nervous. - and there i was in asia. - europe. - the gulf. - and i saw things. - incredible things. - and people you never forget. - i did my job. - for my country. - my buddies. - for total strangers. - and i was proud. - so grateful. - for my family. - my freedom. for all who served and all who serve, we can never thank them enough.
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let's keep it moving. ♪ we are back. they're already talking, our political roundtable, to break down what happened on tuesday and where we go from here. joining me now, president of the national urban lead, marc morial, mike murphy, counselor to president bush, karen hughes and president obama's former communications adviser anita dunn. welcome to all of you. i want to start. what a week and what an election day. i want to talk specifically about president obama's reaction to all of this. and it was striking to me, anita dunn, as you worked in the white house, that the president seemed to be struggling in that press conference. two years after such an important victory. he talked about some leadership failures, appearing on "60
minutes" tonight and this is part of what he had to say. >> i think that over the course of two years, we were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn't just legislation, that it's a matter of persuading people and giving them confidence and bringing them together, making an argument that people can understand. and i think that we haven't always been successful at that. i take personal responsibility for that. >> my colleague, savannah guthrie, covering the white house, asked the most important question. does the president get it? >> i think that what president obama said is absolutely correct, which is he came into office, facing great policy challenges. with those policy challenges
came great communications challenges and many people think, you know, in terms of policy, in terms of the immediate crisis, in terms of keeping this country from sliding in to a depression that this administration has done a very good job. in terms of kind of outlining to a very worried, frustrated and increasingly angry american people, what comes next and where is that better place? i was part of that communications operation. obviously, that's a challenge that we didn't quite get to, as we did for the policy one. here is the reality, david. for two years with democrats controlling everything, it was democrats against democrats and a referendum. there is now going to be a very clear choice in this town and i think that the -- >> we're not there yet. i'm still grappling with -- >> no, but it will be easier here. >> i detected a certain level of impatience and irritation even on the president's part that americans don't seem to get what's been done for them. >> he was uncomfortable and sometimes you have a communications problem and sometimes you just have a
problem. this was a massive repudiation of the president's policies. he wasn't able to persuade us, if we're so stupid that we don't get how brilliant his policies were. no, we don't like his policies, the trillion dollar stimulus and health care at a time of enormous anxiety. the proof to me, david, that he wasn't really getting the message was when he talked about tweaking. this was not a tweak election. this was turn this baby around. we are on the wrong path. >> when you look at the exit polls, the exit polls said something different. they showed a sharply divided nation on issues like health care. they showed a sharply divided nation. the wrong thing to do with this election is overstate the results. and there was a mistake in 2008 to overstate the results and i think it's a mistake in 2010 to overstate the results. the fact of the matter is, it was a repudiation of the democratic and republican parties if you look at the favorability ratings. you saw a sharply divided
country about the issue of health care. i think the president gets it. every great champion, every great president at some point gets pushed through the ropes, may get knocked down to a knee. president obama will get up. he will fight back. he will stand on his principles. it was a tough week. anyone who has been through a tough political loss knows the feeling in your gut, the reexamination you go through. i think he assess going through that. i think it's wrong to look at it as some sort of mandate. we want to do that, claim a great victory when, in fact, the nation is -- >> here is my question, mike murphy. americans voted their economic anxiety, but they also did make a statement about their desire or lack thereof of the role of government in our lives, particularly in this period of economic upheaval. it seems to me the president struggled all throughout these first two years, making the argument and wing the argument that government was part of the answer, part of the solution, not part of the problem. >> we just had a referendum on that. the president lost by historic
proportions. i think he knows he got shell shellacked. the problem is publicly what do you say about it? it's kind of hard to have much to say. what the president has to do is reset the clock, get a forward-going message. there's no backward-going message that's going to help him at all. he has two choices. either hunker down and have a passive plan and hope republicans repeat the mistakes of 1994 and act like they just won control of the government. i think we learned from that mistake and won't do it again or he has to make a bold move and make painful for him but politically and economically effective policy choices. >> the president who owes much of his presidency to the power of his words. i was among those who were inspired by his words. the words have lost their power. calling for civility, the day after the election, when he called his opponents mennies and the days when we hcalls for
civility, calls for -- he has lost the power of his words. it makes him very hard to set an agenda. >> i want to talk about words for a second. tuesday night we saw the republican leadership saying they were humbled, understood there wasn't a mandate and since then all they've done is claim a mandate for policy that is weren't born out by the people who showed up and the exit polls you cited. for instance, as marc pointed out, even with this very conservative electorate that showed up to vote tuesday night, support for repealing or keeping the health care system is split. 47-58. there is not a mandate for rolling it back. 52% of those voters felt some or all of those bush tax cuts should not be renewed. the republicans are now trying to create a mandate where none exists. the reality is that the vote was very much a rejection of the status quo.
the status quo has been on the ballot three times now and loses every time. >> if the democrats want to litigate exit polls and put speaker pelosi back on the front window, it's the biggest gift to the republican party since the elephant. we're all going to sit here in pundit land and chew him to pieces if he wants to talk about how he lost the election. he's not particularly good at humility and contrition. he has to decide to get big, not be passive to democrats in congress, who have gone even farther left and grab the whole thing or he will be diminished and do very, very badly. >> the other thing, too, i don't know that there's an appetite to relitigate things like health care. if you look at the exit polling, there's a split. the question as i looked at jim demint is it seemed to be -- he soog seemed to be suggesting there is, quote, another plan. i would like to -- >> there's no other plan. he made it very clear, the plan is to run on this in 2012. >> it's a political plan, not a plan to address the problems of
the nation. >> here is the political question. alex sink ran for governor in florida and lost, the white house is not happy about, lost narrowly to a flawed republican candidate. she said the white house was tone deaf on responses of the gulf oil spill, tone deaf on responses to health care. there are democrats who felt health care was a war of choice not of necessity. >> there's merit into the notion that the white house needs to make some modifications and make some changes as to how they communicate and undertake this. my prescription is they've got to focus like a laser in the morning, in the afternoon and at night on jobs, jobs, jobs. what i hear around the country when i travel the nation from all sorts of groups of people is they want a plan for jobs and economic growth. if the leaders of both sides can come together around a plan for jobs and economic growth, i think that would be in the best interest of the nation. if this simply will be a tactical discussion about what
political move helps you in 2012, both parties are risking that you're going to have another volatile election. >> one more thing before the break. karen, as a professional here, not just with your political leaning, president bush in '06 takes a thumping, fires don rumsfeld and proceeds to move into the surge with democrats and the like. different point in his presidency. >> very different point. >> he could do something different here. what is the road back for president obama? what is the line between consensus building and actually pushing the republicans away and forcing a showdown? >> the more constructive model is what bill clinton did after the 1994 election. he was two years in. he went back to the middle and moderated his positions and policies. he reached out to republicans, there were contentious times with newt gingrich, but he reached out and came back to the center. that's what the american people are fundamentally saying. president obama talked a lot about the car and the ditch in this election. the voters kicked the tires and said we're going to turn this baby around. what we got home with is not
what we were sold. this is not -- the trillion dollar stimulus, massive complex health care plan which has an impact on jobs. employers aren't hiring because they're afraid of the uncertainty of what that health care plan will do to their business. >> the only sector in the economy creating jobs. the health care sector is creating jobs. >> let's not forget that they weren't able to move to some kind of consensus until after the republicans had shut down the government, that 1995 was a year in which democrats drew a very hard line with republican priorities. republicans felt they had come in with a mandate that they didn't have from the voters to come in. what you're seeing right now is republicans coming in and parts of their party think they actually did get sent here with a real mandate to do some things and that you don't actually get to consensus until you've had to make those hard choices. >> i want to take a break, come back to the agenda and the tea party's influence in that showdown between tea partiers and established republicans.
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we are back with our rou roundtable. mike murphy, i want to ask you about the tea party. i want to ask you first, you were with meg whitman in california. what happened? you thought this would be closer and in the end it wasn't. >> we got beat. i take responsibility for t it's a very blue state and is getting bluer. wave kind of went one way, a blue riptide was coming the other way. we had a tough time in washington state, oregon and definitely in california. ceo candidates doing a tough medicine message, be it linda mcmahon in connecticut, in a blue state, charlie baker in massachusetts, carly fiorina and meg in california, couldn't buy it. we could win the republicans and independents but in california if you don't win a lot of democrats, you don't win. >> it seemed to be a referendum on big money candidates coming
in and -- >> money became part of it. it's a hostage choice for california. 300 million was spent on politics. you either can't raise enough money to compete and they swamp you. they paid for jerry brown's campaign or spend your own money. if you're a self funder, the press wants to make that money an issue. time machine, there's a lot of things you could do differently. i'm proud of meg. we had some tough answer that is people just didn't want. >> let me stay with you on the tea party. on the coast, democrats remain strong. in the heartland of the country, that's part of the tea party's strength. white working class voters, who voted for hillary clinton, for instance. >> sure. >> but what kind of fight will we see among republicans with the tea party influence in congress? >> a lot of the tea party is fiscal conservatism. a lot of the media tends to grab
the tea partier, funnier the hat, the better, and villify them. we have to be careful not to have an analysis, 15% of the country or more who would say they identify. that being said, we've got some problems. i have a bone to pick with jim demint. i take the position of many senators. in some ways he was harry reid's secret weapon. you don't go into delaware as a party leader -- in the northeastern state, we threw away perfectly good senate seat. similar situation in nevada. we could be at 49 or 50 seats right now. there has to be some level of pragmatism to provide some sort of -- >> had an about the accountability moment for republicans on where they're going to cut the budget? they're making big promises. will they cut the prescription drug benefit that bush passed? will they deal with some of this spending? president bush tried private accounts in social security. it did not work. part of his own party was the problem there. >> now that we control the house, we have an opportunity to take votes and pass legislation every week. we need to cut spending. we need to say that there's not
going to be a $6 trillion tax cut that will kill jobs and hurt the fledgling economy. that needs to be priority one. we could start with not authorizing the stimulus spending that's not been spent. it's clearly not worked, unemployment has stuck at 9.6%, though the president promised it wouldn't go over 8%. we need to begin to earn trust. let me make one more point, david. much has been made of the fact that we control the house and not the senate. however, we have 47 republicans now in the senate and there are 23 democrats who have to run for election in 2012 and who are going to listen to the message of this election and perhaps be a little worried about voting against spending cuts and limiting government the next two years. i don't buy that we can't get things passed. >> let's talk about tax policy. you can be for all the tax cuts across the board and republicans and democrats have to come to grips with the fact that you may
have to raise taxes to bring the budget under control at some point. >> i call this star wars economics. let's, quote, cut spending. let's cut taxes and let's also balance the budget. the reality check is that you can't cut/tax your way out of the debt problems you face? i'm part of an effort that will release a report soon on debt reduction and tough choices that will have to be made. my thinking is that the plan needs to be recast. 2001 tax cut plan designed as a stimulus to the recession that was taking place. why can't we develop a new tax plan that might place greater tax relief for those of the middle and working levels? this tax plan gave those at the middle and working levels scant relie relief and greater relief to those at the top. keep them or scrap them? it's a better choice to say let's design a tax plan for 2010
that confronts the problems of 2010. >> i think that's a good point. the reality is the reason that they expire this year is because the republican congress didn't want to say how they were going to pay for them in the out years, which is the problem they will have today. if you look at what the republicans have been saying between their proposal to extend additional tax cut to the wealthiest people in the country, $700 billion, and getting rid of the $500 billion of savings in medicare advantage, the first two things they could do is increase the deficit by $1 money 2, $1.3 trillion again. david, the republicans have said they want spending cuts. they won't tell you what they're going to cut. senator demint this morning said we have to fix social security and medicare. apparently that doesn't involve making any tough choices. now that they control the house of representatives, they can't just say we're going to cut spending. they actually have to propose cuts in spending. >> from a governor who is doing
exactly -- >> we haven't heard from anybody in the senate or the house as to what they will cut. >> i will take a quick break here. we'll come back with a couple of moments left and talk about the legacy of george w. bush. he isking to matt lauer, his new book coming out. i speak a different language. but i love math and math and science develop new ideas. we've used hydrogen in our plants for decades. the old hydrogen units were very large. recently, we've been able to reduce that. then our scientists said "what if we could make it small enough to produce and use hydrogen right on board a car, as part of a hydrogen system." this could significantly reduce emissions and increase fuel economy by as much as 80%. the new healthcare law gives us powerful new tools to fight it.... to investigate it... prosecute it... and stop criminals. our senior medicare patrol volunteers... are teaching seniors across the country... ...to stop, spot, and report fraud.
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- i volunteered. - i was drafted. - i enlisted. - i was nervous. - and there i was in asia. - europe. - the gulf. - and i saw things. - incredible things. - and people you never forget. - i did my job. - for my country. - my buddies. - for total strangers. - and i was proud. - so grateful. - for my family. - my freedom. for all who served and all who serve, we can never thank them enough. final moments with our roundtable. george w. bush's new books "decision points" is about to be released, his memoir. he sat down with nbc's matt
lauer, an interview that will air tomorrow night. matt asked him in part, why did he write this book? does he want to cement perceptions about his presidency or change perceptions? this is the president's answer. >> well, kind of, but the main purpose of the book is to have a starting point -- not a starting point but a data point for future historians. you have to -- this may seem strange to you. i don't really care about perceptions at this point in time. i served. i gave it my all. and i'm a content man. and the book has been a part of the transition process to private life and it's a way for me to put the reader in the environment in which i had to make decisions. >> karen hughes, you were there the whole time. is this an attempt to rehabilitate the bush presidency? >> i think it's a very candid, fascinating and good read account of the decisions, major decisions that president bush made in office, the way he saw them, the kind of information he got, the kind of debate that took place and the things he got
right as well as the things that he got wrong. it's a very candid accounting of that. he says in a number of places i got this wrong. i should have done this differently. he talks about the things that he got right and the principles that he used to make decisions. i think people will enjoy it on every page. i see the person i know and that you covered in the campaign, david. >> have views about the president changed? >> about president bush? >> yeah. >> i think views always change about presidents the further away you get from the presidency and the good things that happened tend to come into greater prominence and that some of the emotions around presidencies fade. >> i think presidents should be able to litigate from inside what happened. it's the most important point of view. people ought to read it and learn and i think that history will be very good to president bush, compared to current thoughts. >> thanks to all of you. tune in to nbc tomorrow night, 8:00 pm, matt lauer's exclusive interview with president bush
since leaving office. one other special note this week, "meet the press" celebrates 63 years on the air, longest running television program in the world. read about our history and watch a video of all the highlights of this program during the past six decades. it's up on our website now mtp.msnbc.com. that's all for today. we'll be back next week. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." being a leader means moving fast. across the country when the economy tumbled, jpmorgan chase set up new offices to work one-on-one with homeowners.
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